There could be plenty of empty seats on the next bus to Cougar Town* if a new survey from Lovehoney is to be believed. It seems that just 8% of men like dating older women, but the news is even worse for those toy boys as just 3% of women say they actively seek younger guys. This suggests couples such as Fifty Shades of Grey movie director Sam Taylor-Johnson and actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson are actually quite thin on the ground (at 48, she is 23 years his senior) outside the world of showbiz.
Celebrities of both sexes have always attracted partners years younger than them, of course. Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, 68, is about to become a dad for a sixth time with his new bride, Sally Humphries, 37, who is expecting twins. Johnny Depp, 52, married Amber Head, 23 years his junior, in February last year. Madonna, 57, is probably the world’s most famous cougar – marrying and divorcing Guy Ritchie, 10 years her junior, before dating French dancer Brahim Zaibat, 25, and Brazilian model Jesus Luz, 22.
The age-gap relationships poll of 1,500 people found that 91% of men and 61% of women had dated someone younger but half of women (50%) prefer to date men who are older. Both sexes reckon that sex gets much better with experience – with 83% saying their performance in bed has improved over the years. A third of women (34%) but only a fifth of men (20%) have been put off dating a new partner because of a significant age difference. Almost four out of ten women (38%) said they would feel uncomfortable introducing a significantly older or younger lover to their parents or friends compared to just 26% of men.
The poll also found that a fifth of women (21%) but only 11% of men have because sexually mismatched with a partner because of an age gap. A big age gap contributed to a break-up for 17% of women and just 11% of men. Far more men (44%) than women (31%) think relationships have a better chance of longevity if both partners are the same age.
A Lovehoney spokesperson said: “I think there is plenty of life still left in cougars despite this research. It shows that sex gets better the longer we do it because our technique improves and we become more confident in the bedroom. That’s why men are attracted to sexually confident cougars – they know they are going to be great in bed. All our research shows that the couples in settled relationships enjoy the best sex because they are comfortable around each other and are more likely to be adventurous.”
* Cougar Town is a TV series starring Courteney Cox in which she plays a recently divorced single mother discovering the truths about dating and ageing in a beauty and youth obsessed culture.